Help us plan our Zoo's future
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium will unveil ideas for a modern Pacific Rim aquarium and exhibit complex and a new South America exhibit as part of a long-term strategic plan to address aging and deteriorating zoo facilities.
The nearly 50-year-old North Pacific Aquarium and the 30-year-old Rocky Shores/Arctic Tundra exhibit are showing typical signs of deterioration and corrosion due to salt water. The zoo’s long-term strategic plan recommends replacing the aging facilities with a modern combined Pacific Rim aquarium and exhibit complex.
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Draft conceptual renderings show a modern aquarium and exhibit complex, with more up-close animal experiences, improved breeding facilities, and many unique visitor experiences. Visitors would be able to stand inside a crashing wave and not get wet, examine a sea lion’s belly from an underwater tunnel and watch sea turtles, rays and hammerhead sharks from a gigantic viewing window. The new aquarium as envisioned would be built across the road from the current Rocky Shores exhibit in Point Defiance Park and have sweeping views of Commencement Bay.
The North Pacific Aquarium in turn would be transformed into a 19,000 square foot South America exhibit, which would link thematically to the nearby South Pacific Aquarium. Conceptual drawings show visitors journeying into a village high in the Andes Mountains surrounded by a lush jungle filled with jaguars, monkeys, bats, lizards and insects while Andean condors fly overhead.
The goal is to reuse and repurpose whenever possible. All current pools in the Rocky Shores exhibit would be restored and reused in the proposed Pacific Rim aquarium and exhibit complex and would take advantage of existing infrastructure, like pumps and filtration systems, wherever possible. The former North Pacific Aquarium building then would be repurposed into a South America exhibit, reducing the building’s maintenance costs and extending its lifespan.
Other Metro Parks initiatives underway in Point Defiance Park this year include converting the Lodge to a seasonal Visitors’ Center, reopening the historic Pagoda this fall and finalizing concepts for the Missing Link, a highly desired pedestrian connection uniting the Ruston Way promenade with Point Defiance Park’s waterfront and attractions.
Additional public processes slated to begin in the near future include planning for future use of the former Camp 6 site and an update to Fort Nisqually Living History Museum’s master plan.
Wave Tunnel - Outside View
Aquarium Main Tank
Public Dive Tank